Top 10 Family Picks: October in the Twin Cities

October in the Twin Cities bursts with family activities from fall festivals to Halloween happenings. Below we present 10 notable fresh picks; for more ideas of things to do with your kids & family this month check our:

fall leaves

Visit a pumpkin patch

Do you prefer your patches plain or fancy? Are you simply in search of that perfect jack-o-lantern or hankering for a full-on fall festival with all the trimmings? There is a pumpkin patch to suit all tastes here in the Twin Cities. Some of our picks include Pinehaven Farm in Wyoming and Eveland Family Farm out of Anoka. Get all the details in our Twin Cities 2021 Guide to Pumpkin Patches.

Baby by pumpkin patch at Pleasant Valley Orchard in Shafer, Minnesota
Pumpkins at Pleasant Valley Orchard

Shop as a family at a fall Farmers Market – then cook up a cozy dinner together

Get kids inspired to help in the kitchen with a trip to a family-friendly fall market such as Mill City Farmers Market & Midtown Farmers Market (both in Mpls) and Richfield Farmers Market (Veterans Park). The stacks of brightly-colored autumn produce are just begging to be turned into cozy family dinners. Hurry over for the harvest; last call for many of the markets is October 20.

Top 10 Family Picks: October in the Twin Cities


Harvest up some fall festivals

Fall, in my opinion, has the heartiest, most feel-good festivals of any time of the year. Here are a couple of our suggested favorites. For dozens more, consult our TWIN CITIES FALL FAMILY FESTIVAL CALENDAR.

Eidem Homestead Fall on the Farm

This little treasure of a place is tucked up in Brooklyn Park, not far from the lovely Coon Rapids Dam Regional Park. As it’s a working farm, October means time to put the harvest up for the winter — and you’re invited to help. All ages can get hands on in the field, in the barn and in the farmhouse kitchen. Oct 9, 12-3pm. The website lists this event as FREE, please confirm before registering as in the past, there’s been a small fee.

Wargo Fall Festival 

WARGO NATURE CENTER, in Lino Lakes, is back to hosting their annual fall festival. Play pioneer games, try cider pressing and take nature walks. The nature center also maintains a sweet little nature playground. October 16, 2-4pm, FREE.

Top 10 Family Picks: October in the Twin Cities


Be active outdoors as a family

Some of us simply aren’t winter enthusiasts. We love to be outdoors, sure — right up until the snow starts to fly, and then we prefer to move our family fun somewhere cozy. For those of you who identify, October is month we squeeze in the last of our outdoor outings. Here are a few on our radar where you can try some “adventure” activities:

Hyland Hills Fall Color Chairlift Rides

Take in the colors along the route to the top of the hill. Live musical acts will perform and food will be available for purchase. These sell out quick; grab your advance tickets right now. Oct 9 & 10, $6/pp.

Fall Family Outdoor Expo

Try outdoor activities such as cooking over a fire, knot-tying, an obstacle course, mini golf & rocket launching. Hosted by the Boy Scouts and located in Golden Lake Park, Circle Pines. Oct 2, 1-4pm. FREE.

Three Rivers Park System
Hyland Park in fall, courtesy Three Rivers Parks

Spend a few extra days together over MEA weekend

We like to think of this long weekend as a blessing – though we understand often it may not feel as such. We recommend a little advance planning to make the most of the time. Our MEA Family Guide lists special MEA hours for museums, pumpkin patches and apple orchards as well as early Halloween events taking place Oct 21-24, 2021.


See fall colors aboard the Pumpkin Express Train

Osceola & St Croix Valley Railway bids you all to hop aboard its special Pumpkin Express Train October 22-24. Admire the blazing colors on the bluffs as you chug out to the Dresser Depot for games, live music, hayrides and, of course, that perfect pumpkin (ages 15 & under receive a FREE pumpkin with admission ticket). Tickets sell out quickly for the event; check the calendar here to see what’s still in stock. $25-30/pp (under age 5 FREE). If you can’t swing those dates, try one of the railway’s weekend fall color train rides.


Get in some extra trick-or-treating

And it doesn’t just have to be all about the candy. In fact, my personal favorite places to take the kids for a bonus trick-or-treat session are a number of grocery stores in town. In the past, my kids have left with bags stuffed full of fresh fruit, cheese sticks, pretzels, and other healthier options. Thank you, Kowalski’s Boo Bash,  for that week’s supply of school snacks! For more markets events, check our listings to Trick-or-Treat at Twin Cities Grocery Stores & More.

Top 10 Family Picks: October in the Twin Cities


Solve a corn maze

Personally, I don’t often venture into corn mazes (don’t need the extra stress in my life), but the kids love them. This particular one was ready to take on the challenge on a recent, beautiful fall day at Waldoch Farm in Lino Lakes. The farm & garden center offers an array of fall fun on weekends through the month of October. Included in admission of $15-$17/pp is access to the corn maze, obstacle course, pedal bikes of all sizes, play equipment, a train ride and more. Best for kids ages 8 & under. There is no charge to explore the animals at Joyer Barnyard or take a hayride out into the pumpkin patch. Open daily, 10am-7pm. For more on the corn maze craze try our Top Twin Cities Corn Mazes for Families.

Top 10 Family Picks: October in the Twin Cities


Get up close to big rigs during Fire Prevention Month

Whose got kids that stop in their tracks at the sight of one of those monster vehicles? October is National Fire Prevention Month. There are more chances this month to see the big rigs than any other – check our Twin Cities Touch-a-Truck Calendar to plan ahead! Activities at the individual open houses run the gamut from fire truck rides and touring fire stations to taking in live fire prevention demonstrations and enjoying free refreshments. Keep these communities in mind as you plan your October weekends:

Oct 4: Shakopee Fire Department Open House

Oct 5: Minnetonka City & Fire Department Open House

Oct 9: Eden Prairie City-wide Open House

Oct 9: Hopkins Fire Department Open House

Oct 29: Plymouth Halloween at the Lake

 

Got kids who are just crazy about getting up close to big rigs? Our calendar of Twin Cities Touch-A-Truck events and Public Works Open Houses will help you find them!


Have a howlin’ good time on & around Halloween

Little ghouls and goblins, here is surely some sweet news for you: there is no end to the ways to celebrate Halloween in the Twin Cities. Trust us, we’ve been swamped for the past month trying to get a handle on all that is offered: Halloween parties in the parks, pumpkin festivals, trick-or-treat events, costume contests and loads of other ways to have not-so-spooky fun. We’ve tried our best to tame the beast in our seasonal guide HERE:


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